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No, I Won’t Discipline Your Child

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Taking the chance of invoking the wrath of all you awesome southern mamas, let me preface this with the face that I am not a southerner. I grew up a yankee. There. I said it.

We don’t say ma’am or sir, we drink pop, we push shopping carts. I’m pretty sure I turned out okay. That being said, I’ve adapted to the south pretty well. I gladly accept when someone offers me their buggy, I order a regular coke instead of just Coke, and—well, okay—I still cringe when I get ma’amed, but I’m only 24. What woman my age wants to be called ma’am??!

However, there is one thing I’ve noticed in the south that I just can’t figure out. Strangers think it’s okay to correct a child’s behavior. How is that okay?!

Shortly after moving to Nashville, I was a nanny for a super sweet family. The kiddos were wonderful, the 3 year old boy was funny, smart, and generally well-behaved. Once we went to the grocery store when it was just a little too close to nap time, and he got a little upset when he couldn’t have something that wasn’t on the grocery list. A lady overheard us having a conversation about why he couldn’t have it and proceeded to come over to intervene in the situation. He wasn’t crying, screaming, or throwing a fit—he just wanted to understand why. (And doesn’t every 3 year old want to know why??) What business was it of hers to come over and tell him he needed to accept my answer and just be happy he was getting whatever other treat he was getting? If I was telling my husband we weren’t getting something, would that be an open invitation for someone to come over and interject into our conversation? No. No it wouldn’t. That would be considered rude and inappropriate. So what makes it okay when it’s between a parent (or caregiver) and child? It’s nobody else’s business what decisions you’re making for your family.

And on the other side of this issue, I’m not comfortable deciding what is or isn’t okay for your child to do. You can glare at me across the playground, but I’m not going to tell your child to not climb up the slide. Maybe you’re raising a free spirit. Maybe they had developmental delays, and now you’re just happy to see them running, climbing, and playing. I don’t know your family or your situation. If you’re not okay with something, I expect you to be the parent and take care of it yourself.

I know it takes a village to raise kids. I love and appreciate my village, but I’ve also carefully selected the members and who I want helping with my children. Most of the time, we as mamas are just trying to make it through the day, so when I look at you with your tantruming toddler in the middle of Target, I’m not judging you. You know your kiddos best. I also won’t be coming over to try and “help” the situation.

All I ask is the same in return. You won’t know if I might be keeping my child from something harmful to them or that I’m the one just trying my best to make it through the day—or even just the next couple of hours. So let’s make a deal. I won’t discipline your child, and you don’t discipline mine. And I won’t be glaring at you across the playground or the doctor’s office expecting you to do something with my child. I tend to think I’m a pretty easy-going person, but correct my child without my okay, and you’ll see this northern-raised mama bear come out with claws a-blazing. I know what’s best for my child, and I’ll be the parent.

Canadian supermodel Coco Rocha said it perfectly when addressing some haters on instagram about some of her parenting choices: “…This is not a democracy. Everyone doesn’t get a say.”

Amen, sister.

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One Response to No, I Won’t Discipline Your Child

  1. Britnie Sims October 21, 2015 at 7:18 pm #

    A million amens to this! Nothing drives me crazier than other people trying to parent my child!

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